Monarda National Collection in July

A sure way to single out monardas in a prairie style border is to listen for a loud buzzing from insects drawn to this rich source of nectar. It explains why the common name is ‘bee balm’, although in fact not all bees can reach the nectar in the long tubular flowers. ‘So short-tongued bumble bees bite through the base of the flower to reach the nectar, leaving holes that our honey bees use later on,’ explain Peter and Carole Whittaker from their six-acre, wildlife friendly garden. Seeing different clumps of Monarda planted in drifts or in combination with others, its charms are plain to see. ‘The flowers are so showy with their double-lipped blooms, rising above a collar of decorative bracts,’ says Carole.

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